Ayah

Word by Word
فَلَمَّا
Then when
قَضَيۡنَا
We decreed
عَلَيۡهِ
for him
ٱلۡمَوۡتَ
the death
مَا
not
دَلَّهُمۡ
indicated to them
عَلَىٰ
[on]
مَوۡتِهِۦٓ
his death
إِلَّا
except
دَآبَّةُ
a creature
ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
(of) the earth
تَأۡكُلُ
eating
مِنسَأَتَهُۥۖ
his staff
فَلَمَّا
But when
خَرَّ
he fell down
تَبَيَّنَتِ
became clear
ٱلۡجِنُّ
(to) the jinn
أَن
that
لَّوۡ
if
كَانُواْ
they had
يَعۡلَمُونَ
known
ٱلۡغَيۡبَ
the unseen
مَا
not
لَبِثُواْ
they (would have) remained
فِي
in
ٱلۡعَذَابِ
the punishment
ٱلۡمُهِينِ
humiliating
فَلَمَّا
Then when
قَضَيۡنَا
We decreed
عَلَيۡهِ
for him
ٱلۡمَوۡتَ
the death
مَا
not
دَلَّهُمۡ
indicated to them
عَلَىٰ
[on]
مَوۡتِهِۦٓ
his death
إِلَّا
except
دَآبَّةُ
a creature
ٱلۡأَرۡضِ
(of) the earth
تَأۡكُلُ
eating
مِنسَأَتَهُۥۖ
his staff
فَلَمَّا
But when
خَرَّ
he fell down
تَبَيَّنَتِ
became clear
ٱلۡجِنُّ
(to) the jinn
أَن
that
لَّوۡ
if
كَانُواْ
they had
يَعۡلَمُونَ
known
ٱلۡغَيۡبَ
the unseen
مَا
not
لَبِثُواْ
they (would have) remained
فِي
in
ٱلۡعَذَابِ
the punishment
ٱلۡمُهِينِ
humiliating

Translation

Then, when We decreed (Solomon's) death, nothing showed them his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his staff: so when he fell down, the Jinns saw plainly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have tarried in the humiliating Penalty (of their Task).

Tafsir

And when We decreed for him, for Solomon, death, in other words, [when] he died - he remained supported against his staff an entire year, while the jinn continued to toil in hard labour as was customary, unaware of his death, until [finally] when a termite ate through his staff, he fell to the ground [and was seen to be] dead - nothing indicated to them that he had died except a termite (al-ard is the verbal noun from uridat al-khashaba, passive verbal form, in other words, 'it [the piece of wood] was eaten away by a termite [al-arada]') that gnawed away at his staff (read minsa'atahu or minsaatahu, replacing the hamza with an alif, meaning a 'staff', so called because [when describing it one would say] yunsa'u bihaa, to mean it is used to repel or drive away [creatures]'). And when he fell down, dead, the jinn realised, it became apparent to them, that (an, is softened, in other words, annahum) had they known the Unseen - comprising what was hidden from them in the way of Solomon being dead - they would not have continued in the humiliating chastisement, [in] that hard labour of theirs, [in which they continued] as they supposed him to be alive, which is in contrast to what they would have supposed had they known the Unseen and the fact that he had been there an entire year, judging by how much of the staff the termite had eaten through after his death; in other words, [they would not have continued in the humiliating chastisement] for a single day or even a single night [longer].

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